Morning Links: Opponents call for removal of Venice Great Streets project; Ride the Colt next weekend

The paint is barely dry on the Venice Blvd Great Streets project in Mar Vista.

Yet already a petition is urging Councilmember Mike Bonin to rip it out, projecting — apparently based on nothing but their own fears — that it will exponentially increase traffic congestion, along with cut-through traffic in the surrounding neighborhood.

And that it is already causing a calamitous decrease in business, as drivers who most likely seldom, if ever, stopped to shop in the area will now avoid it entirely.

Never mind that, as we noted yesterday, the people who actually study such things, based on genuine research rather than mere NIMBY supposition, say the living hell opponents fear is unlikely to actually come to pass.

In fact, a more likely outcome is that the road diet will have little or no effect on travel times, and may actually improve traffic flow, while a more walkable and bikeable street could have a positive effect on local businesses.

But why wait and give it a chance when you can just throw a massive online temper tantrum now?

After all, who cares about little things like greater safety, improved livability, higher property values, fewer commercial vacancies and increased retail sales if it means adding a few more seconds to your commute?

As of this writing, the petition has already seen 630 signatures in six days. A counter petition in support of the project has received 157 signatures since it went online two days ago.

How sad that it’s even necessary.

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If you can’t make it to CicLAvia a week from Sunday, consider riding the COLT in Chatsworth.

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Nice piece from Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson confirming that bike riders are indeed the best people.

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Local

Los Angeles is testing a reflective street surface in Canoga Park designed to reduce the heat island effect caused by traditional blacktop. Which could mean a more comfortable ride on hot days if it’s successful.

Stay alert when you ride: A woman was attacked by a knife-wielding man while jogging on the bike path along Burbank Blvd near Lake Balboa.

A man was in critical condition after he was shot in the neck yesterday morning while riding his bike near the Lincoln Heights Recreation Center.

Streetsblog reports the Gateway Cities Council of Governments is refusing to commit to funding active transportation, despite the efforts of an environmental justice group and the vulnerability of many of their lower-income residents.

Apparently, the California Coastal Commission would rather keep PCH dangerous than eliminate 675 Malibu parking spaces to improve safety.

A Manhattan Beach city councilman is complaining that Los Angeles should have consulted with his city before trying to save lives on deadly Vista del Mar. Because really, who cares if people die in LA as long as traffic flows smoothly in the South Bay?

Hats off to the South Bay’s Beach Cities Cycling Club for organizing bike safety classes at local grade schools. Although it shouldn’t be left up to bike clubs to do what the school district should already be doing.

Long Beach is set to embark on plans to re-envision the PCH corridor as the city’s new Main Street, including a Complete Streets makeover of the deadly highway.

 

State

Imperial County border town Calexico is working on the first update to its bicycle master plan since 2003.

Ford’s new GoBike bikeshare program is set to expand and replace the existing Bay Area Bike Share, with a 10x increase from 700 to 7,000 bikes, and over 500 docks throughout the area.

San Francisco police say if you see a bike theft in progress, don’t try to intervene, but call the police instead.

Streetsblog takes an anti-bike Marin columnist to task for wrongly asserting that bikes can’t play a roll in solving the county’s transportation issues.

 

National

A new UC San Francisco study shows medical costs from bicycling injuries were over $24.4 billion in 2013, and increasing at a rate of $789 million a year. Which Treehugger says is yet another reason to invest in safe bicycling infrastructure.

Bicycling offers advice on how to get the best deal on a used bike. Presumably without buying someone else’s stolen bike off Craigslist.

Despite international complaints, Orange Theory Fitness continues their orange ghost bike rip-off ad campaign, confusing and angering people in Bend OR.

This is who we share the roads with. A 20-year old Washington father is dead, and his friend injured, after the two Native American tribe members were intentionally run down by a pickup driver in what appears to be a hate attack

You’ve got to be kidding. Life really is cheap in Ohio, where a stoned driver got just 33 days in jail for killing a man on his bike, after pleading down from vehicular homicide and DUI charges. Naturally, he claimed it wasn’t his fault because the sun was in his eyes.

Massachusetts police blame the 78-year old victim in a bike crash for not wearing a helmet. Which wouldn’t have mattered if the speeding driver hadn’t hit him.

A town in Massachusetts installs a new sculpture celebrating cyclists.

Baltimore may halt work on a protected bikeway network after opponents of one bike lane complained that it made the street too narrow for fire trucks.

Nice story about an armless man riding a specially adapted bike and pulling a quadriplegic woman in a trailer behind him as they competed in a 50-mile Florida race.

Nearly 17,000 New Orleans bicyclists signed a petition demanding better protection from the police after a bike rider was nearly paralyzed when he was shot with a pellet gun; five other riders were shot with a paint gun in two separate incidents last month.

 

International

A new study found no link between the use of headphones or talking on a mobile phone and crashes by teenage bicyclists, though it did note a drop in the perception of sounds considered crucial for safe bicycling by riders of all ages.

A Toronto columnist says maybe he should pay more attention to angry drivers when he rides his bike, whether or not they’re right.

Another unintended Brexit consequence — British cyclists may lose their easy access to European bikeways.

Two hundred English cyclists rode 96 kilometers to raise funds in honor of the 96 soccer fans killed in the 1989 Hillsborough Disaster.

A nine-year old girl in the UK raised the equivalent of over $1,500 by riding 20 miles in memory of her little sister, who was born without a windpipe. Did I mention she’s just nine years old?

You’ve got to be kidding, part 2. A British judge told a man who stole a bait bike he just needed to get a job — despite 17 previous convictions, including one for bike theft.

The Bahrain-Merida pro cycling team had ten bikes stolen from the team truck parked outside of their hotel in the Netherlands.

A New Zealand bicyclist says overly courteous drivers are killing her with kindness. Almost literally.

Oddly, when you ride your bike drunk, with no lights or reflectors, and only a cowboy hat (scroll down) in violation of Australia’s mandatory helmet law, a judge may hold you responsible for whatever happens next. Even if your lawyer says cars are “a juggernaut of death.”

 

Finally…

Beware of bike cops if you plan to burgle stripper wear in your undies. If you’re going to break into someone’s home, take a shower, drink their milk and leave a load in their toilet, try not to leave your bicycle behind.

And it’s National Donut Day, which is as good a reason as any to stop for a snack on today’s ride.

 

12 comments

  1. Brian says:

    I’ve ridden through the new lanes on Venice twice during rush hour and drove through there yesterday during the afternoon rush. Traffic was flowing just fine, never had to wait more than one cycle of any traffic light to get through an intersection when I drove and I didn’t see any particularly bad traffic when I rode. The worst traffic I saw was in the afternoon on southbound Centinela, which doesn’t have bike lanes and has had traffic like that since I worked over there back in the late ’90s.

    Gotta love the people making a petition to tear it all out because it *might* do something they don’t like.

  2. Irene says:

    “Balboa Sports Complex once averaged 160 degrees in summer. After the seal was applied two years ago, company officials say, surface temperatures dropped to between 135 to 140 degrees.”

    I wonder how this compares not just to concrete but the science which is completely ignored relating to absorption versus reflection and release.

    A rough cooler surface can absorb and release far more heat if it is conductive to the ground or if too conductive just capture heat and not release it.

    The air temperature is not measured, the Temps all night.

    So for example on bridges the concrete is not earth anchored, can get hotter, but cool quite differently.

    If the issue is to be respected then the complete street option, And the entire surface not a 40k per mile pigment change likely gimmick, deserves scrutiny.

    A modern coating could drastically cut long term costs, get very very hot but not emit or collect much heat. Roads have never been long term cost engineered but assume widening and early therefore ripping up preposterously.

    Cobblestone in moist sand is my solar power assisted fat tire pleasure but autonomous vehicles are going to shade black tar more then Ford crappie peddled frisco rentals will eliminate past car scars.

  3. Amy says:

    This project is a disaster. I’m a bike rider myself and it’s pretty stupid how they moved the parking in the middle of the street so that when cars driving need to make a right turn they have to cross over the lane of parked cars and then the bike lane and the parked cars blocks visibility of oncoming bikes from those drivers who are turning. It also has caused more soul-crushing traffic. Honestly, traffic really does cause depression and anxiety. This used to be a really usable street for bikes and cars….now it is neither.

    Also for the poster who said traffic is not worse, I just drove down it today and it took me twice as long as usual. I also rode my bike down it this afternoon and didn’t find it much more usable than it was before. Venice already had a pretty good bike lane before this idiotic project.

    • Ben says:

      I’m a car driver and I LOVE the new Venice blvd!!

    • Brian says:

      I think you’re referring to me as “the poster”. I’ve now driven it at ~5pm during rush hour, ridden it twice around 8:45am during the morning rush, and drove to the Mar Vista farmer’s market on Sunday. I never had to wait through more than one cycle of a traffic light. I will happily share GoPro footage I took on one of the morning rides showing no unusual traffic if you’re unconvinced.

    • Ralph says:

      I live in a city where there is almost always a car length space from the right turn lane to the bike lane and more to the pedestrian crosswalks. Drivers here understand this and go slowly around the corners. There is an added benefit that you as a driver can see bikes and peds better once you are partway around the corner.

  4. David Drexler says:

    Great edition. And…
    Thanks for letting us know about ride the colt in Chatsworth next week.

  5. Tom says:

    Northbound Vista del Mar is an ill-conceived fiasco. Have you even bothered to ride it, Mr. Biking In LA ?

    The single northbound lane is sub-standard width and per CVC 21202(3), bikes may use full lane. BUT, the double yellow centerline and heavy southbound traffic make it nearly impossible for cars to pass bikes. That is virtually guaranteed to escalate tensions and frustrations between cyclists & cars.

    Further north on Vista, the single lane is now half-occupied by the busted up concrete, cracks, and ruts that has gone unrepaired for at least the last 10 years.

    The multi-use path on Dockeweiler beach is a very poor alternative. These paths are only intended for bikers cruising at 7-8 mph, not road cyclists pedaling at 22-25 mph. Plus, the inattentive pedestrians, loose dogs, baby strollers, etc, on paths are as much a hazard as cars.

    A better road design would have reduced width of the humongous backing-out space on southbound Vista and make the northbound lane substantially wider, making it safe for cars to pass cyclists.

    Or even better, leave it as 4 lane road, reduce speed limits to 25 or 30 mph, and — gasp! — ENFORCE the limit.

    • bikinginla says:

      I have ridden it prior to the redesign, and felt like my life was in danger every inch of the way. Haven’t seen it since it was restriped.

      • Tom says:

        Prior to the re-striping, we just “take the #2 lane”, no drama: lane control, as explicitly permitted by CVC 21202(3).
        Cars see us from a long distance & move to the #1 lane to pass us.

        That option is no longer available on northbound Vista, after the re-stripe.

        • Ralph says:

          The trouble with the taking the lane mantra is you will never get beyond a small subset of cyclists who are willing to try it. Better facilities are a requirement for increasing cycling numbers.

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